Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In Case of Fire - Perish!

So, there was a fire on Table Mountain last night and this morning, and it was quite low down - low enough so that they had to block off roads and evacuate houses. One of the guys at work lives there, and had to evacuate (he's not here today, strangely), and that got me thinking (and feeling sorry for these guys) about how I would react if I had to be woken up at 1am to be told that I need to leave my house because there's a fire.

Obviously, it depends on how close the fire is - obviously if it's right there you'd hear it and there wouldn't be time for anything other than running outside and saving the lives of your family. If it's a bit further though, and you had, say, 15 minutes to get your most important possessions before the fire came, what would you take?

Xbox 360 springs to mind, books, clothes, soccer boots, laptop. Everyone has those useless trinkets lying around that mean so much to us - heirlooms and jewellery and various other what-nots. The thing is - there is just too much stuff that I like to be able to choose. Obviously, I can't carry all my books - too heavy and just too many. But, would I take a few books? Which ones? The favourite ones I've read, or the ones I haven't? Would I throw as much stuff into the car and try and drive off with as much as possible?

Clearly, the problem here is not that I have too much stuff - it's that I'm too attached to my stuff. I am materialistic - a material boy living in a material world - and it annoys me. I don't want to be materialistic - and yet, I like my stuff too much not to be. I like my books. I like my Xbox. I like my random bits of useless crap. Hell, I even like my old clothes too much to throw them out (though, I proudly state that I've given a whole bag full of old clothes to charity this week) - and I know that I'm not the only one. I'm probably not even one of the worst ones when it comes to materialism.

Is it a bad thing, though? These days, there is a serious lack of family values, and of the "tribe" mentality, or a sense of community. Everyone is an individual, trying to beat everyone to the top in a war of individual goal satisfaction. Although our stuff is a result of this war, it also gives us something to hold on to, to cherish, and to look after in event of fire. These days, nothing else provides those needs - as patriotism and sense of community is lost.

It seems like a bit of a catch 22 situation, I know, but if we didn't have our stuff to hold on to, what would we have? It's sad that when there is so much in this world that is ruined by materialism, materialism is one of the few things holding people together.

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